Life. Love. Family. Our Perfect Imperfection. Living life as a Catholic, homeschooling family with three amazing, unique boys, a too-oft serious, frustrated and anxious but also loving momma, and a fun-loving, hardworking dad.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fun week, indeed!

For our mini-vacation this year, we went to Michigan Adventure again, due to Ethan winning 2 free tickets to the park.

Having spent a week in Muskegon last summer, spending a day at Michigan Adventure and doing some other things, we decided to take just 3 days this time around.

Jason found a KOA campground that had a "park model" cabin/camper for us to rent about 45 minutes from the park, in Allendale.

Tuesday morning, after a quick breakfast and loading the car up, we started our drive across the state. The older boys had their DSI's to play video games for most of the ride and the toddler slept about half of it. We stopped at Burger King for lunch and to get out of the car for awhile about half-way there.

A quick trip for some groceries and then we made it to the cabin to unpack the car. Swimming came next, in the campground's pool. Even Jackson joined in the fun! The boys played on the playground and swings, and we walked around a bit.

Jason cooked us up some cheeseburgers on the charcoal grill - the boys each had a regular, but we splurged for him and I and got black and blue burgers, seasoned with loads of black pepper and stuffed with blue cheese! Seriously tasty!

After dinner came a bit more "exploring" and an attempt at fishing. It started getting dark and Jackson was getting sleepy, so we went back to the cabin for the night. While I got Jack down for bed, Jason took the boys outside to have a campfire, complete with s'mores and a scary story. Poor Alex wasn't too fond of the scary story, so Jason stopped early and came in. After all the boys were sound asleep, Jason and I sat outside for a little while.

Jackson actually slept from about 9:30 till 5:30am! That rarely happens!

Wednesday, we went to the amusement park and had so much fun. Ethan went on a roller coaster first thing with Jason, and I took Alex to ride a couple of rides by himself, while Jack and I watched him. Jack loved watching all the cool rides. After quite a few rides, we grabbed a quick lunch over by the water park, and all changed into our swimwear.

The water park was my favorite part. All three boys got to do something fun in there, including the wave pool, and for the older boys, water slides!

We did have a big scare at one point. Before we even entered the park, we went over what the boys should do if we should get separated or lost. I took Jackson in the tidal wave pool with the older boys and Jason waited outside off to the side. I decided to take Jackson out after a few minutes so we could warm up and I guess Alex saw me and followed me. I didn't realize it though and because he was a little ways behind me, he didn't see which direction I went. He walked around for a bit looking for me and Jason, while we were standing off to the side, talking and looking in the giant tidal wave pool, filled with so many people, trying to catch a glimpse of each of them. We saw E, but no Alex anywhere. Trying not to panic we walked toward the front and continued to look, thinking he was just lost in the sea of kids in the water. After about 10 minutes and still no Alex, I started walking toward the front of the water park to see if he had maybe wandered to the bathroom or for a life-vest (he mentioned maybe wanting one) and as I turned to start going around the corner, I saw him with a security guard, with a scared look on his face. Pushing Jackson in the stroller, I walked as quickly as I could to meet him and wrapped him in my arms, asking where he'd gone! I was almost in tears, and thanked the security guard, who told me he had gone to the first aid station and asked for help. I'm so glad we told the boys who to go to and what to say. I never, ever want to feel that way again. I really don't think Alex does either!

It was time to leave the water park then and ride some more rides, followed by a bbq dinner, more rides and finally time to go home. Jason mentioned stopping for some ice cream on our way back to the cabin, so we were on a mission to find some soft-serve. We found a little place called Whippi Dip between Muskegon and Allendale and sat outside in the warm summer breeze, as it got darker and enjoyed some yummy ice cream.

We had to check out by 11am on Thursday, so we packed up all of our things and got on the road. We decided against fast food for lunch and found a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in Howell called Mexicali Allie's. It was pretty good and the boys all ate their cheese quesadillas, E ate his rice and Alex ate his refried beans. I decided on a ground beef taco, a bean tostada, beans and rice while Jason chose a chunk beef burrito, ground beef taco, beans and rice. Jackson ate a bite of beans but didn't really dig them, which surprised me, because he loves them on tacos at home!

Once we arrived home around 3, we were greeted with a "Welcome Home" chalk sign from Julie and the B's!! Well, actually two, the first on the driveway by the garage door and the second on the sidewalk/patio area by our back porch! That was really cute and sweet. At the last minute, on Monday evening, (because I forgot to find someone to watch the dog and none of our neighbors were around to ask) I sent Julie a text asking if she'd let the dog out a few times and feed and water him each day for us while we were gone. And because she's an awesome friend and my hero, she agreed!


Side note here: Make sure to follow Julie's new blog as she branches out from here and hopefully we will both grow our readership! 

After we settled back in here at home, unpacking and ordering pizza for dinner, Jason suggested go-karts and/or mini-golf. I thought that sounded like a fantastic idea. When we got to C.J. Barrymore's, we had to see if the boys were tall enough to ride the "faster" go-karts. E is plenty tall enough and Alex is borderline. However, the lady at the counter asked how old he was, and when we said 8, she told us "Sorry, he has to be at least 10 AND 54" tall to ride those ones". After buying E's ticket and mini-golf tickets for all of us except Jackson - he had to be a spectator in the stroller as he's still a tiny bit too young to play :( but he didn't mind, he laughed at all of us - we went over to the turbo track to find NO ONE else in line. E was going to be out there all by himself! Jason ran back in and bought a ticket for himself and they raced each other while we looked on. 

Mini-golf was fun, we chose the "green" course, and I did really well the first 5 or 6 holes, hitting it in with 2 strokes (par was 3 for every hole), then I kind of stunk for a while and then believe it or not, I, somehow, got 3 - yes, THREE! - holes-in-one! I don't even think JASON did that, lol. But Jason came in way under, winning the game. I had 63, E had 68 and Alex had 69.  

Jackson slept all night AGAIN! I'm loving the fact that he's sleeping anywhere from 7-10 hours a night now, although I know it could change at any moment. I'm relishing in the fact that I'm getting some good sleep myself now, except of course when my own body decides it doesn't need sleep, but I'm really, truly tired...

Yesterday (Friday), we are still technically on vacation, as Jason took the day off of work and the boys are not starting school for over a week. However, it sure didn't feel like a fun day. After having used up quite a few things before we left - milk, bread, peanut butter, eggs, you know the staples - I had no choice but to go grocery shopping, hopefully before lunch. Since I try and go "big grocery shopping" every other week and just get a few things that would go bad if I bought too much, and it happened to be shopping week, it took a little longer to plan the menu and grocery list out. Jack-Jack and I left after 11am and didn't get home till after 2! He was so well-behaved and patient in the two stores. We ended up going to Meijer for most things, and Costco for meat (they have organic chicken and ground beef for a good price), eggs - again organic, 2 dozen, great price - and a few other things. I even got 4 loaves of organic whole wheat bread for $11.38. I know it sounds kind of expensive, but even Aunt Millie's at Meijer is almost $3/loaf and it's not organic, but is my second choice. Meijer organic is about $4, I think? Regardless, we got everything, snacked on some samples and a slice of Costco pizza (eh, not my favorite) and came home. Jason took the older 2 out while we were gone, after lunch, to get new rotors for the front brakes on our van and to sell a buddy's riding gear. When we got home and got the van unloaded, they weren't home yet. We decided on leftovers or sandwiches for dinner. Jason was supposed to have his class last night, and still needs to find his 2 books, so he took off early, only to find the campus bookstore closes at 2pm. He stayed up there, went to class, his professor was a no-show so they all submitted attendance paperwork, and he took the long way home - meaning he rode his Harley around for a little while.

Today was a beach day. We decided on Lake St. Clair Metropark as there's a beach, playground, splash zone/sprayground and for an extra fee, a pool with water slides. We skipped the pool and slides and opted for free. I packed up some sandwiches, fruit, tortilla chips/cheese puffs, juice boxes and other picnic snacks for us, while Jason gathered our towels and beach gear. After everyone was dressed for swimming, we drove over and enjoyed 4 hours there! It was such a beautiful day, the water felt great, and the boys all got along. E even made a new friend that he and Alex played with in the water for a bit. Jackson went swimming - well sort of - and played happily in the sand. We ate our lunch and Jason and the older boys went back in the water. I took Jack to change his swim diaper and wash the sand off of his little bottom and change my own clothes, and then we met the 3 of them in the splash zone. After about 15 minutes (they were over there for about 20 before we even managed to make it back over that way, lol), we decided to call it a day.

Now that we are home, Jackson is taking a nice nap, E and Alex are playing video games, and Jason is off at the tattoo parlor getting more work done to his right arm. It's really nice looking so far, but he wants more added to it. While they are all occupied, I'm taking some "me" time and writing, finally!! Although, now I should probably go make some dinner for my little loves, because I know Jack will be awake soon and it's already 5:30!! Where did the day go?

Oh yeah, and tomorrow, we get to go hang out with JULIE and her little men! So excited. It's going to be an afternoon filled with visiting a metropark, geocaching - hopefully we will have better luck than before - and a cookout with friends.

I have a ton of pictures from our vacation, so I may make a slide show from them and share them that way. Still trying to figure out my photo software on this computer and I received it as a gift in December! Oh well.